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They loved me unconditionally, and I was raised along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
She mentioned a few, tracing their shapes in the air: ,” she said then, softly. She said she could move on now, as we had finally met, after she had known of me, but never known me, for over 30 years.
Antonio and I left the house late and drove back to the truck stop, beneath a dark night sky.
If I lacked kinship at school, I had it here, where the sun fell through the aspen, and deer and elk drank from a clear stream, where the conversations of chickadees merged with the cry of a red-tailed hawk, and where coyotes yipped at dusk, coursing the ridge east of the cabin.
Here, I wasn’t alienated; I was simply human, one being in an equitable community.
At the same time, I felt the intensity of hopeful and ineffable love for my family increase, a feeling rooted in the childhood my adoptive parents gave me. He said he’d been waiting since then to meet me and was happy — as was his family — to reconnect.
“We were happy,” he told me, describing his childhood, the small house, the big family. To us, it was home.” After he was deported, he soon re-crossed the border with a coyote and returned to Wyoming, which he by then considered his home. Antonio traveled to Fort Collins to hire a lawyer to try to claim me, but the lawyer warned him that it was impossible, because he was illegally in the U. Even if he received the legal right to stay, by then the adoption would be finalized, the file sealed, and he would have lost his chance of claiming his son. And despite everything, he was happy for the life I’d been given.(The stone house my biological father was born in still stands, but now she lived in a newer one her children built for her.) So Antonio and I drove to his little house outside of Cheyenne, and for the first time, I met my .Outside, a cold winter wind blew across fields of corn stubble, through leafless trees. I told her my name and said, very briefly, that I’d had everything I needed in life.Inside, the house was bright, and Juana sat on the couch, short and slight and highly attuned to everything. I asked her about her ancestors, and she replied that her grandmother was from , while others were Indigenous and from Michoacán, Mexico.Her husband, my biological grandfather Trinidad, was from Jalisco, Mexico.There, he fell in love with Mary, the farm owner’s daughter, and sometime later, in the fading light of a prairie autumn, I was conceived.Mary read to me before I was born, books by Ernest Hemingway and James Michener, and walked the bluffs to watch over her family farm.Their family was happy; they didn’t have much but always had enough to eat.They never went to the doctor, using wild local herbs and plants to heal wounds instead.When he was 16 years old, Antonio left the stone house in Guanajuato, Mexico, where he was raised, and traveled north by foot, on trains and in vehicles.He caught trout by hand in mountain streams and ate wild plants and eventually ended up in southeastern Wyoming, where he found work on a dairy farm.